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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Student Activists During Their Examinations

Zimbabwean police burst in on university exams to arrest students Thursday in the provincial capital of Masvingo, a student union spokesman said.

Police meanwhile held 26 members of the Zimbabwe National Students Union arrested from Tuesday to Wednesday in Harare and Masvingo for staging protests against the high cost of education and other issues related to education.

Students demonstrated Tuesday at the University of Zimbabwe and again Wednesday in Masvingo, the capital of Masvingo province. Union President Promise Mkwananzi said police Thursday arrested students as they wrote their exams at Masvingo State University, among them student union vice president Gideon Chitanga.

Mkwananzi said the the lawyer representing the students could not obtain access to his clients. This could not immediately be confirmed with the lawyer or police.

In a related development, University of Zimbabwe lecturers and non-academic staff have announced that they can no longer afford to pay transportation to work, in effect launching a strike. Their salaries range from Z$9,000 to Z$60,000 a month (US$36 to US$240), leaving all below the poverty line of Z$141,00, or about US$565.

Association of University Lecturers President James Mlaule told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the university employees will only return to work when the government has addressed their financial needs.

More reports from VOA'S Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...